Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Body Snatchers, Walking Corpses, Werewolves – Halloween Costumes Come to Life!

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Halloween is almost here, and as Sunday night draws closer, I know what I will be looking out for – body snatchers, walking corpses and werewolves!  As Diane Mapes describes, it turns out these mythical characters are not confined to books or movies, they could actually come to your door for Trick-or-Treating….    

Imagine waking up tomorrow morning and not recognizing your husband or children but instead believe they are identical imposters who have taken over your home.  That is exactly what happened in 2007 to a woman in Nebraska.  The story may sound fantastical, but it is in fact true as the case report in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reveals – this patient had Capgras Syndrome. Capgras Syndrome, named for French psychiatrist Joseph Capgras who first described the delusion in 1923, is a rare psychiatric disorder in which a patient believes friends and/or family members are not who they say they are but are actually identical-looking imposters.   In Capgras Symdrome there is a disconnect between the visual and emotional centers of the brain believed to be caused by head injury or an existing psychiatric or neurological disorder.

While some of us may be dressing-up as zombies for Halloween this year, some people may actually believe they are the walking dead!   Cotard Delusion was first described by French neurologist, Jules Cotard, in 1882.  This disorder is related to a disconnect between the region of the brain that recognizes faces, the fusiform gyrus.  Patients do not recognize their own face and come to believe they are dead.  Several cases of the disease have been reported in the literature including this story involving a homeless man who believed he had melted away and was dead.  Cotard Delusion is believed to be related to severe depression.

Jacob Black from the Twilight series is one hot werewolf, but unfortunately the disease that transforms humans into werewolves does not transform them back to their human form (nor do they look nearly as hot as Jacob Black).  Hypertrichosis is a genetic condition that causes excessive hair growth all over the body, including the hands and face – think Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf – that can affect both men and women.  Additionally, Cushing’s Syndrome, a hormonal disorder causing excessive hair growth and a fatty hump, or Prophyria, a blood disorder causing light sensitivity and excessive hairiness, may also be responsible for these so called human werewolf disorders.

So when you dress-up this weekend, look in the mirror and don’t believe you are seeing yourself, you may want to get that zombie costume off as quickly as you can.

Oh, there’s the door bell, got to run and see who’s at the door… Trick or treat, Everyone!